Young people are being encouraged to go wildlife spotting this half term to get inspiration for a new children’s short story competition - Wild About Britain - run by the RSPCA.
The wildlife-themed contest was launched on Friday and is inspired by classic bedtime tales such as Wind in the Willows, Peter Rabbit and Fantastic Mr Fox - which a recent survey showed still top the list of the nation’s favourite wildlife stories and characters.
The rules are that it must be no more than 500 words long and feature an animal or animals from British wildlife. There will be two age categories – 11 years and under and 12 to 16 year-olds and a judging panel will award a gold, silver and bronze for each category and people can also vote for their favourite story online.
Chris Packham, RSPCA Vice President and ambassador for the competition, said: “What could be a more perfect way to enjoy half-term than go out into our autumnal woods and search out signs of animals like hedgehogs, foxes and badgers – then go home and write about them.
“Characters like Mrs Tiddywinkle, Fantastic Mr Fox and Badger from Wind in the Willows have thrilled children and got them excited about the wild world around them for generations. Now we are looking for a new family of inspiring wildlife personalities and think there may well be some budding young writers out there who may help us.
“With the Olympics, Paralympics and Jubilee it has been an incredible year for Great Britain - now it is time to remember that our wildlife is great too.
The closing date for the competition is midnight on Monday, December 10, and the winner will receive a selection of books from Random House publishers and be published on the website. The full judging panel is to be confirmed but will include Chris Packham.